New rules to protect airline passengers

USA Today explains that the DOT (department of transportation) has issued some new rules to protect airline passengers from a few of the most frustrating travel problems.

The consumer protection rules, from the Transportation Department, will:

  • Require airlines to prominently disclose all ancillary fees on their websites, including fees for checking bags.
  • Require airlines to refund baggage fees if bags are lost and promptly refund fares and other fees when they are due.
  • Let the department impose fines on U.S. and foreign airlines of up to $27,500 per passenger if they leave an international flight on a tarmac for more than four hours.
  • Raise compensation if passengers are bumped from an oversold flight. They’d get double the price of their tickets up to $650 if their arrival at their destination is delayed just a few hours. Currently, compensation is equal to the ticket value, up to $400. Longer delays would trigger payments of four times the value of their tickets, up to $1,300. Currently, that compensation is capped at $800.

The Transportation Department had proposed more rules. But with airlines complaining that they’d need more time to adapt to them, the department agreed to delay the following provisions until Jan. 24. The provisions require airlines to:

  • Disclose bag fees during booking and on e-tickets.
  • Promptly notify passengers at the boarding gate, on airline websites and via their phone reservation systems of flight cancellations and delays of more than 30 minutes.
  • Allow customers to cancel reservations without payment for at least 24 hours if they’re made at least a week before departure.
  • Include all government taxes and fees in advertised fares. Airlines typically exclude them.
  • Not raise a fare after a ticket has been bought unless it’s a result of government taxes and fees and the flier agrees to any increase.
  • Requirement that the same baggage fees apply through all segments of a passenger’s trip.

Let us know what you think about these changes. Comment below!


Aug 2011

Tips on: Debt collection scam going ’round

There seems to be a debt collection scam going around parts of the US recently that is sometimes kinda scary. This is how it works

  • The scammers call your home, cell phone or place of employment pretending to be criminal investigators or even law enforcement agents
  • They claim that they are trying to collect debt from payday loans obtained over the internet (many of the people contacted by the scammers have never even taken out a payday loan or have already paid it off in full)
  • Next is where the scammers get nasty. If you start asking questions or refuse to pay they sometimes threaten legal action and sometimes violence.

So what do you do if you are contacted by one of these tricksters?

  • Do not give them any personal information especially you banking or credit card numbers.
  • Ask the person on the phone to send you the information in writing. Probably email is the best because you don’t want these people knowing your address.
  • If you feel seriously threatened contact your local law enforcement team.

Also, everyone is entitled to a free credit check once a year from the three major credit companies. Go here to check your credit score.

Aug 2011

Tips on: Magazine subscription scams

Magazine subscription scams are some of the most frustrating around but the good news is it can be avoided. There are some tell tale signs that you might be getting ripped off by a magazine subscription scam.

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Watch out for sales people who say the subscription is “free” and only includes a small “processing fee”. Find out exactly how much that fee is.
  • If the sales person says it costs “only a few dollars a week” get specific billing information from them and do the math to see the yearly cost, (you might be surprised at how much “a few dollars a week” ads up to).
  • Make sure the sales person identifies themselves and what company they work for. If they refuse or say they work for a “magazine publisher” without stating a name, watch out.

There are some key questions to ask if you get a call from someone trying to sell you a magazine subscription. Make sure they can answer all these questions and maybe even ask them to back it up in writing.

  • How will I be billed and how often?
  • How many magazines will I be receiving and how often will I receive them?
  • What is the total cost of the subscription including any fee’s?
  • How can I cancel my subscription and what are the cancelation policies?

If the person trying to sell you the subscription has any problems answering these questions you might want to rethink giving them your credit or debit card information. One more thing, its also always a good idea to compare the costs of the regular subscription rates to the costs the salesperson is offering you.

If you have been ripped off by one of these scams, or have other great tips on how to avoid them, leave a comment below and check out PeopleClaim (our main site) where you can file a claim against anybody, anywhere in the world!

Aug 2011